I would prefer to be a homeowner, without any debt. In other words I would prefer to own a house, free and clear in the city where I now live than to rent a house. It would be easier for me to make decisions about the maintenance and enhancement of the property and I would have the right to rent rooms to other people or to establish a garden anywhere on the property.
For ordinary salaried people in Japan, purchasing a house in the city without any debt is next to impossible. In my case, we needed to get a house in order to increase the number of rooms for my family, and I decided to build a house on the outskirts of a city. This resulted in a huge amount of debt. I have paid the loan for more than twenty years. Now I have no debt, but I don't know if I should have built a house or not. I used to consider a house to be a ship, not a castle, but I have realized that my ship would not depart for anywhere.
I would prefer to be a homeowner, certainly, but in Brazil buying a home is very difficult and expensive. The only way is to rent a house or apartment, if you are middle class, because government grants are low for this type of consumer.
However, if you are poor, government grants are better.
Generally speaking, if you buy a house, it will become more difficult, or less easy, for you to move. If you give priority to your job, you should be prepared to move. In this case, you should rent a house or a flat.
I see your point, apereira901. I wasn't aware of the preferential government grants to the poor for homeownership in Brazil.
In the USA, and in Mexico now, it is very common to become a homeowner with a mortgage (loan) and or subsidy of some kind. Becoming a homeowner in those two countries is an enormous debt burden to the new homeowner and with the expense of upkeep/maintenance, insurance, property taxes and needed/desired improvements the fulfilled dream of homeownership can become somewhat of an alligator, eating the homeowner alive.
Many buy assuming that they can sell in the future at a profit. The myth of homeownership being one's greatest or most important investment is strong in the USA. Few understand the importance of having the property be a source of income from the beginning and not counting on the future sale to an as yet unidentified buyer in an unknown market.
I have been both a home renter and a home owner several times in the USA. Nowadays, I am living as a renter in Mexico, temporarily. I would prefer to be a homeowner in my current location, metropolitan Guadalajara, ONLY under very particular (and rather narrow) circumstances, but not in general.
I agree with you, Yutaka. Indeed there are circumstances in which renting can be a better choice than owning.
Abandoning the property or gifting it to someone/something is not generally a financially convenient or palatable option. Becoming an absentee landlord or putting the property under professional management may not be an option if one is counting on the sale of the current home to fund the move and settlement into a new home (house, flat, apartment, whatever) as an owner or as a renter.
In 1995, disastrous earthquakes hit the Hanshin-Awaji area in Japan. About 5,000 people lost their lives. At that time some people thought that living in a condominium was economically risky. Your rooms are part of a large building. You cannot rebuild only your apartment. If the whole structure were damaged by earthquakes, you could not do anything but quit living there, even if you had not paid off the mortgage.
Well, ideally I'd love to have the money to own more than one home without any debt, in different cities/towns where I could travel to and fro. Owning homes is preferable IF you have the funds. I do not, so I rent one apartment. It would be nice to rent a second elsewhere though. I just find having a vacation home to be a really attractive way of life, even if it's in an apartment complex. I'm still in my 20's (well, not for that much longer) so I guess I'm still not ready to settle down. Even though I'm forced into one home, I'm not mentally at that place yet.